Why The General Public Is More Willing To Go To War Than Academics

The average American is more willing to use military force in an international incident than foreign policy experts are, and … Continued

Why The General Public Is More Willing To Go To War Than Academics

The average American is more willing to use military force in an international incident than foreign policy experts are, and in some cases the the differences in opinion are quite stark. A new study from William & Mary and the University of Wisconsin indicates that the difference in opinion may have less to do with an individual's political leaning, and more to do with gaps in knowledge. Subjects for the study were asked questions about eight hypothetical cases, with responses between academics and average Americans often at odds.

When asked if the U.S. should take military action against the Islamic State, more than 60% of Americans were in favor of war, while only 25% of experts were. Of all the questions asked, this binary was only flipped once — about whether or not the U.S. should militarily support Estonia if Russian-backed forces invaded. More than 50% of experts were in favor of military action, compared to roughly 40% of Americans. The reason for this may have to do with Estonia being a part of NATO, and the significance of defending another NATO member may not have been known to non-experts.

James Clark

James Clarkis the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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